Finns in Minnesota

Finns in Minnesota

by Arnold R. Alanen


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Finns in Minnesota by Arnold R. Alanen

The first Finnish immigrants arrived in R ed Wing in 1864, the vanguard of thousands who eventually and resolutely placed Minnesota second among the states in terms of Finnish population. Today we may recognize Minnesota’s “Finnishness” in the popular sauna, in the characteristic tenacity known as sisu, or in place names and cultural markers that link to homeland. The newest contribution to the People of Minnesota series traces the Finns’ migration to the state, particularly its northeastern region; their log construction techniques, including dovetail notching; and their ethnic organizations, from religious to political to fraternal. Colorful sidebars enliven the narrative, highlighting such topics as “Finglish,” New World legends, and the 1920s Olympic competitors in track and field known as the “Flying Finns.”

A separate thread tells the story of the Finland Swedes—“the minority within a minority” whose members were born in Finland but spoke Swedish and thus straddled two ethnic groups, belonging fully to neither. The book concludes with a personal narrative of Fred Torma (1888-1979), a miner and carpenter from Nashwauk, who describes establishing a Socialist hall, involvement in the 1907 Mesabi strike, and founding a cooperative boardinghouse and store. His is just one engaging example of the vibrant lives and legacy of Finnish Americans in Minnesota.

Arnold R. Alanen, professor emeritus of landscape architecture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a third-generation Finnish A merican from Minnesota, has written extensively on the topics of landscape history, vernacular architecture, settlement patterns of Finnish A mericans, and cultural resource preservation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780873518543
Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press
Publication date: 05/01/2012
Series: People of Minnesota Series
Edition description: 1
Pages: 124
Sales rank: 1,207,457
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.50(d)

Table of Contents

Finns in Minnesota 1

Immigrant Numbers 2

A Finnish Presence in Minnesota 4

Early Emigration from Finland 6

Minnesota's First Rural Finnish Settlements 10

A Minneapolis Finntown 16

New York Mills and West-Central Minnesota 19

Northeastern Minnesota 22

Farming the Cutover 35

Religion, Politics, and Organizations 44

Cooperatives and the Common Good 61

Supporting Finland During the 1930s and 1940s 64

The Postwar Era 67

Finland Swedes 77

Twin Cities 78

Duluth 79

Iron Range 80

Lake Superior s North Shore 82

Rural and Agricultural Settlements 85

Organizational Life 86

Today 91

Personal Account: Fred Torma (Törmä) 93

Further Reading 96

Notes 97

Index 107

Illustration Source Details and Credits 112

Acknowledgments 113

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